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Lawrence v Chief Constable of Staffordshire, Court of Appeal, 29 June 2000

12 July 2000
The issues


The facts

The facts of this case are largely unimportant. The Claimant however was awarded £16,000.00 as General Damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenity for injuries suffered in a road traffic accident. He was then awarded interest at 2% from the date of the summons to the date of judgment. This amounted to £1,205.09.

The decision

The main judgment was given by Lord Justice May and an Appeal by the Claimant in respect of an award of 2% for General Damages. The Claimant submitted that the guideline rate of interest to be awarded in personal injury cases on the amount of General Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity should be increased from 2% to 3%. The existing guideline rate of 2% derives from Birkett v Hayes 1982 1W.L.R.816.

Lord Justice May held that there was no intrinsic reason why the guideline rate of return to be used for calculation for future loss should be the same as the guideline rate of interest on General Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. He emphasised that his historic guidelines had been different. Further, that the rates served different purposes. Interest on General Damages is to compensate for delay in receiving payment as at the date of judgment of a sum which was notionally payable at an earlier date.

For Wells v Wells purposes, the rate of return is a component of an actuarial calculation of future loss. Actuarial calculation attempts to be accurate. By contrast, General Damages are a conventional sum and interest on them is discretionary.

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